Often, I dabble in genres and TV shows I would have never imagined I would watch. I enjoy watching shows from other countries in other languages as it gives a different insight. Whilst I often watch shows from other countries, I very rarely review them.
In fact I have only reviewed three foreign language TV shows: “La Casa De Papel” (Money Heist), “Quien Mato A Sara” (Who Killed Sara?) and Dark. Even though I have watched countless more, I don’t tend to review them unless I feel I have something to add. Hence, why there was no review for Squid Game or Lupin.
I first watched Alice in Borderland during the first lockdown, having come across it on NETFLIX, and seeing as how I up until that moment had watched a lot of Spanish shows, a few French and German shows, and one Norwegian show (Ragnarok), I thought I would give this Japanese show a go!
And I fell in love, the show had everything, smart, intellectual commentary on the meaning of life, clever and heart racing games to keep the audience entertained, gut-wrenching violent shocks that hit the audience hard!
I, then waited two years for the second season to be released, and it once again did not disappoint. Although, only eight episodes, each episode comes in at over an hour and it definitely delivers in terms of content.
Alice in Borderland follows a young man named Arisu as he and his friends are seemingly transported to a different world where they must complete games in order to stay alive, except if they die in the game they die for real. Arisu ends up making new friends through the games in the form of Usagi and Chishiya.
Season 2 picks up from where the first season left off, the continuation of the story, the continuation of themes and character arcs that were introduced in the first season, and most importantly new games to play!
Make no mistake about it, although Alice in Boderland does a great job in world buliding and character development, the key element of the show is the survival games, the best part of season 2 is whenever a game is being played, with every game being a delight.
These games delivers excitement as well as either furthering the themes the show is trying to portray, developing its characters or both! And, although there are eight hours of television there are so many characters in the second season that some disappear entirely for most of the season, and it is the games that is the glue that holds the show together.
As, although Arisu is the shows protagonist, because the characters are split, the show uses the games to develop other characters without taking anything from Arisu as the show uses the games as its main character.
And this allows the characters to branch off and have their own character development, instead of just being in Arisu’s shadow. Case and point, Chishiya, who thrives as he sets of on his own, plays two incredible games, that leave the audience on the edge of their seat, and we get to learn more about him.
The third episode is an absolute delight, as we get to see two games, one that Arisu and Usagi play, and one that Chishiya plays, and we see how the game impacts them and their characters. The seventh episode is also worth mentioning as although it is incredible, it is ludicrous, with more shooting happening than words being spoken, but it somehow works!
So, onto the reason I decided to review the season. The final episode. Alice in Borderland has been an exceptional show and if I had to guess I would predict a third season will be made, but what is incredible about this season is the creators decide to give a conclusion.
Not only in the sense of giving answers about the world and why these characters are there but also in finishing the characters arcs, mainly Arisu and Usagi as they finally admit they need each other.
However, as this is the season finale there is only one game remaining, and Arisu and Usagi are the only two that can play, so although the scenes they share a beautiful it is slightly disappointing no other character gets a more satisfying conclusion.
Whilst I understand this show is based of a manga, and the creators definitely leave the option to come back and make a third season, the decision to kill off all those that died during the games in “real life” was surprising.
Whether that conclusion is real or not, the fact that the creators were bold enough to not cop out and do something easy like: waking up from a dream, I commend. Even though, a part of me wishes they had, so we could see all the characters back together one last time.